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Restaurants & Bars 1

Mandana's Kitchen and Salt Creek Barbeque-Elk Grove (made with real elk!)

tony | Jan 25, 200307:42 PM

Yes there are actual live elk in the town of Elk Grove. My folks like to remind me of the run-in I had with them while still in a stroller. They are known to commiserate in a large open field at the Ned Brown Forest Preserve near the corner of Higgins and Arlington Heights Roads. We were having a family nature day and apparently my father brushed up too close to the chain link fence separating us from them and they began to gnaw on the cloth of my stroller. I guess I deserved it. I ate a lot of elk while living in Montana.

We were looking for the suburban location of Noon-o-Kabob, much praised by several posters. When we arrived I saw large green letters of KABOB above the restaurant, but now the place is named Mandana’s Kitchen. After we sat down the waitress brought out a basket of hot pitas and complimentary platter of really good feta, red radishes, raw white onions and parsley sprigs. We started with an appetizer of Kashkeh Bodemjan or roasted eggplant mixed with mint, caramelized onions, yogurt and a healthy dose of fruity olive oil. A nice change from baba ghannouj, it was hard to stop eating, but could have used a bit more mint.

I chose a beef kabob platter served with dill rice and two roasted plum tomatoes. The beef was moist and nicely browned and the basmati rice was decent and helped out by a few shakes of the sumac shaker on the table. The wife ordered a chicken wrap. I wish the term wrap for a sandwich would go away. It smacks of a greasy marketing project manager in Southern California, circa 1987. The sandwich was served with a small but tasty side salad of romaine, tomatoes and onions drizzled with a little oil and a lot of lemon juice. She also ordered a side of hummus. It was a faithful representation of the dish, but just needed a few shakes of salt to bring all the flavors out.

Our server was warm and friendly and supplied several baskets of hot thin pitas. It was a decent place that we would go back to if we were in the area. Some of the other entrees sound interesting like a marinated rib eye kabab, a lamb shank served with a tomato basil sauce and a beef and vegetable stew with spinach, parsley, cilantro and red beans.

Right next-door is Salt Creek BBQ. I’ve only ever had the pulled pork in bulk from this place, but it’s the real deal. It’s not crock-pot, boil and bake bbq. I can’t wait to go back and try the tips and links and ribs as it’s exceedingly difficult to find respectable bbq outside of the south and west sides of the city. The prices are most reasonable for this type of slow cooked food. It’s sort of funny to see they need to put a disclaimer on the menu assuring the clientele that it’s ok the meat is pink because the coloring is from the smoke. You can just feel the frustration of the owner who must’ve gone through many explanations to aberrant customers demanding their pork not be cooked medium rare.

Mandana’s Kitchen
552C E. Devon Ave
Elk Grove, IL

Salt Creek Barbecue
552D E. Devon Ave.
Elk Grove, IL


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